The “Crime of Passion” Noir

So long as your husband has a job, just let him be unambitious.

‘Tis a lesson Kathy Doyle (Barbara Stanwyck) should have learned in the 1956 Crime of Passion. Her husband Bill (Sterling Hayden) is a detective who’s not looking for the future promotion that Kathy would like him to have. Hence the woman engages in some hanky panky to try to ensure this headway. It’s a mistake.

Interestingly, this follows Kathy’s indignant reaction—she has long been a city girl—to the superficiality and complacency she sees in the suburbs where she now lives. It’s pretty melodramatic. Stanwyck’s acting, however, is impressive. And the movie is a grabber. I didn’t feel the connection between Kathy and Bill for a long time, but then close to the end it develops. (Yep, they love each other.) I should also submit that I like Sterling Hayden’s acting less than I like his presence.

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